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Small US, Cambodian Military Exercise Scheduled

In early December, the United States sent USS Mustin, a guided missile destroyer, carrying 300 sailors to Cambodia. The December visit to Cambodia comes on the heels of a visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Cambodia and the US are planning joint military exercises for March 2011, in drills that will include anti-terrorism training, officials said.

Such exercises have become more common between the two countries, with a gradually thawing of ties following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US.

Cambodian military officials said the March exercises will be small, with only about 100 soldiers in the field, but they will be trained to an international level.

“The most important is the anti-terrorism training,” Defense Minster Tea Banh said. “We will also have other training programs.”

The exercise will be part of Cambodia’s larger military engagement with international partners. The US and Cambodia hosted a massive training exercise in July that will help Cambodia participate in UN operations.

Cambodia already regularly sends its deminers as blue helmet peacekeepers in several countries.